Experience the journey to Forever Avalon through my first audiobook as a fantasy author

This has been an amazing new adventure for me and I am so excited to share it with you. Thanks to ACX.com and the brilliant narration of voice artist Traci Odom, Forever Avalon can be experienced in a whole new light. You can listen to the adventures of Lord Bryan MoonDrake, Gil-Gamesh and Knight Eternal of Avalon, and his family on the enchanted, magical island. And to those first few who comment on my blog, I send you a promo code to download a FREE copy of this audiobook.

I never knew what to expect from my experience in turning my first fantasy novel into an audiobook. I searched around through various companies, and ACX was rather easy to work with and navigate through the process. All I did was fill out the form, submit a few pages for a sample script, and soon I had over 30 narrators vying to read and produce my audiobook. I got to pick and chose my narrator, set deadline, etc. It was easier than I thought and, as I listened to my story being read to me for first time, totally worth it!

Traci Odom is a wonderfully talented voice artist. She has more than 220 audiobooks under her belt and it shows in the quality of her work. She carried on conversations in different voices, accents, and characters flawlessly. I was amazed at hearing the variety she was able to conjure up in her performance. I would suspect it was a little magic from the story itself leaking into her production. In any care, I was so happy to be able to work with her. Being a first time audiophile, she walked me through the process and communicated every step of the way, answering all my questions, no matter how insignificant. I would highly recommend her for anyone looking to take their novel from print to audio.

So, to claim your FREE copy of the Forever Avalon audiobook, just leave a comment in this blog post. I will reply back with a URL and code for you to download a copy of the audiobook. Sorry to say, but this is only available in the U.S. and the U.K. So please, take advantage of this limited offer and get yours today!

For more than 3,000 years, the island of Avalon remained hidden from the outside world; a place of eternal magic, where the descendants of King Arthur ruled over a land filled with magical creatures, Elves, Dwarves and dragons. The island was only accessible through a rift in the Bermuda Triangle, where mariners and aviators disappeared throughout history. No one believed Avalon was anything but a myth.

Stephanie Drake and her three children were glad to be alive after a sudden storm slammed their boat onto an uncharted island, but it’s not where they think. They found themselves in another world, frozen in time. However, Stephanie and her children found themselves being hunted by bounty hunters, thieves and brigands…caught in a power struggle between Lord Kraven Darkholm, a wizard descended from the sorceress Morgana le Fay, and Lord Bryan MoonDrake, the Gil-Gamesh and Knight Eternal of Avalon.

Now, it’s a race against time as the Gil-Gamesh must protect these Outlanders—as they are called—and get them home to the outside world. All the while, Kraven Darkholm continued his schemes against the people of Avalon, vying to achieve his ultimate goal of becoming ruler of this enchanted island. Take your first step into the world after King Arthur, Merlin, and the Arthurian legends. Step into Forever Avalon!

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Mark Piggott is an independent author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series and other fantasy novels and short stories. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon and as an audiobook from Audible and iTunes. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers. His latest fantasy novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart is available through Lulu and other booksellers. Get ready for The Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series, coming soon, and the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates.

My first book signing post COVID was not what I hoped for or expected

I had my first book signing of 2021, more than 16 months since The Outlander War was released, and it was not what I had hoped for. Right off the bat, let me say that the staff at the Moravian Book Shop in Bethlehem, PA, were phenomenal. They were great in setting it up, advertising, etc. The event just went off like a wet firecracker… Smoke but no bang.

I only signed four books in a two hour period. There was foot traffic through the store, but not a lot of interest. I didn’t mind talking to people about my novel, that was fun to do. Its the people who walked by and didn’t say a thing, or tried to avoid looking at me as if talking to me was a bad thing. Its like I wasn’t even there. I hate that.

I’m not here to complain or vent… Well, maybe just a little. I only have a couple of book signings under my belt and I really don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I mean, the people I talked to about my book listened, asked questions, and a few of them bought my book. Others just thanked me and walked away. It’s really hard when you’re sitting there, offering a fantasy novel to someone, and people are looking in the fantasy/scifi section of the store but ignoring you. That was really confusing.

I know its still early in these waning days of a year of being stuck inside your house, hiding behind a mask, for your protection and others. I mean, I’m fully vaccinated and didn’t wear a mask at this event. I even wore my steampunk goggles to attract attention. I used my own social media platform to advertise the event. I even emailed local newspapers about it since it was held less than 20 miles from my hometown. I thought I did all the right things and yet, four books. That’s it. The royalties from that doesn’t even pay for the gas it took to drive up there.

I guess I’m ranting about a familiar subject… The cost effectiveness of being an independent author. We put ourselves out there, attending book fairs and festivals, setting up book signing events, etc., for the chance at becoming mainstream. As independent authors, most of us are working a full time job while writing, editing, and marketing after that job is done.

I love writing, I can’t stop myself. It’s a part of my DNA. I will continue to write and work toward becoming a full-time author. Things can get discouraging but I’m lucky to have a great support system–my wife, children, family, and friends–to see me through.

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Mark Piggott is an independent author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series and other fantasy novels and short stories. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers. His latest fantasy novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart is available through Lulu and other booksellers. Get ready for The Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series, coming soon, and the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates.

Author interview with InSpiris Audio Magazine with my friend and shipmate, Spencer Webster

I had the great opportunity to be interviewed by my shipmate and friend, Spencer Webster, for his new prodcast, InSpiris Audio Magazine. Spencer and I met during my active duty days in the U.S. Navy aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65). We stayed in touch, even after we retired from the Navy. Spencer is working on a new initiative, a podcast called InSpiris Audio Magazine, and I was honored to be the subject of one of his first interviews.

We talked about my progression as a writer, everything that inspired me from anime to comic books and fantasy authors, and how I develop my stories in the Forever Avalon series and my other WIPs. Click on the link below to listen to the interview on YouTube or you can find him on Spotify.

Spencer Webster is a novelist, a storyteller and a retired U.S. Navy Sailor. He also has a million zillion creative ideas and never enough time to make them all a reality. So he’s diving down on a few prioritized goals and InSpiris Audio Magazine is one of them. He wants to learn what is creativity to other people and wants to share stories about what he finds. Spencer Webster is the author of Island of the Lost Soul, a book for sale on Kindle. He believes in the magic of inspiration and imagination and is confident there are a lot of people who might share their magic with him, and in turn with you. Spencer lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife.

Spencer is always looking for creative and inspiring people to interview for his podcast. You can contact him at InSpiris-Podcast.com. Also, make sure you subscribe to his podcast and on YouTube to listen to all his content!

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers. His next two fantasy novels, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart and The Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series are being released in 2021.

Tune into The Confessionals podcast and get a new perspective on the world

I have to take the opportunity to give a shameless plug to a dear family member, because, well… He’s family, and you always support family. My nephew, Tony Merkel, produces his own podcast, The Confessionals. Like me, he took what started out as a dream and turned it into an enterprise. I’ll let Tony explain how his podcast came about…

“From a very young age, Tony Merkel was fascinated by all things strange and mysterious.  Growing up in rural Pennsylvania afforded him a childhood spent playing in the woods, where mysteries only tend to deepen.  From Bigfoot to extraterrestrials to the Loch Ness monster, Tony always wondered at the unexplained. 

“As an adult with the Internet at his fingertips, Tony was able to further explore his lifelong fascination with the unexplained.  With an initial focus on Bigfoot, he sought out the Bigfoot community with podcasts like the Sasquatch Chronicles and local Facebook groups to learn more about the elusive creature.  Throughout his search for truths, one thing became certain— he was not alone in his pursuit.

“In 2016, Tony originally created The Confessionals on YouTube as a video platform where people could give voice to the strange, extraordinary things they experienced. His YouTube channel attracted worldwide attention, which was followed by a phone call from a leading member of the cryptid community.  Seeing value in Tony’s endeavors, they encouraged him to take his work to the next level.  After revamping his creation with eyewitness accounts, narrated stories, and expert guests, The Confessionals was officially reborn as a podcast.”

From The Confessionals story

Tony was always a great supporter of me during my military career and in my career as an author. I was honored when he invited me on his podcast to talk about some of my own personal paranormal experiences from the Navy, both on ships and in a house I once rented in Massachusetts. We also talked about the books in the Forever Avalon fantasy books series and other personal experiences. It was a thrill to relive these moments with Tony. I can’t believe we talked as long as we did. You can listen to the entire podcast at The Confessionals or listen below!

The Confessionals “333: Ghost of the USS Forrestal” podcast

If you are into the paranormal, supernatural, and the unexplained, I encourage you to sign up and become a member of The Confessionals to get all the inside information. Believe me, you’ll learn about things you neve dreamed possible. I know I did!

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers. His next two fantasy novels, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart and The Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series are being released in 2021.

See you in Bethlehem, PA, for my first book signing of 2021!

Great news to announce! I will be signing copies of my latest fantasy novel, THE OUTLANDER WAR: Book 3 of the FOREVER AVALON Series, at the Moravian Book Shop in Bethlehem, PA, on Saturday, June 5, from 1-3pm.

This event was rescheduled from 2020 when COVID restrictions forced it to be cancelled. I am so happy for the great people at the Moravian Book Shop for rescheduling my book signing!

Avalon returns to the outside world, appearing in the Atlantic Ocean in the heart of a U.S. Navy exercise. Medieval magic clashes with modern warfare as the two sides try to determine a path forward. All the while, an ancient evil rears its head to destroy the line of Pendragon forever!

Thank you for your continued support of this independently published author! I hope to see you there!

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers.

Double the cover reveal! Double the fantasy!

Brace yourselves for a pair of big reveals this week! I will be revealing the covers for the TWO BOOKS I will be releasing in 2021 through Amazon Kindle Direct PublishingThe Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series and The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart. I spent my COVID-19 lockdown polishing these two novels and now the book covers are ready to be revealed!

If you’re impatient, hop into your DeLorean, kick it up to 88mph, and head to Saturday, April 10, at 8am EST. In the meantime, here’s a glimpse and a preview of my new novels.

Five years have passed since Avalon suddenly returned to the real world and faced the loss of magic and an invasion by the modern, technological might of the United States and Russia. It was only through the efforts of the Gil-Gamesh, Lord Bryan MoonDrake, along with great sacrifice by the Elves of Alfheimer, that Avalon disappeared from the world once again.

However, that victory came at a high cost. Avalon tore asunder, an island shattered into an archipelago. Mordred, the immortal bastard child of Morgana le Fay, usurped the throne from King Bowen Pendragon at this moment of weakness. With an army of undead wraith knights at his command and the children of the Lords of Avalon by his side, it was child’s play for Mordred to take the Granite Throne and become King.

The only thing standing in his way of total domination are the children of the Gil-Gamesh:  Hunter, Rose, and Ashley. Since their father’s death during Avalon’s Reclamation, these three have resisted Mordred’s reign at every turn from their new home in the ruined city of Alfheimer. Along with the Holy Order of Shield Maidens and the Hîldrägo Boquè, an elite corps of Elven warriors, they fight to reclaim King Bowen’s throne and restore Avalon to the people. But even now, Mordred schemes to bring down the resistance through the construction of an ancient magical artifact… The Prometheus Engine. Only the immortal King knows its secrets and the power it will bring him, no matter what the cost. Even now, Hunter and his sisters race across the archipelago to uncover the engine’s secrets and discover the truth behind Avalon’s devastation.

The Magus were the protectors of magic, armed with a magic caster’s power and a warrior’s strength. They were able to summon magical weapons from specialized caches they wore as armored pauldrons known as the Armory of Attlain. The Magus were legendary among the people of Attlain until a few decided they should lead the people instead of protecting them. The rebellion ended quickly from within their ranks, but the damage was done. The Magus were feared and outlawed except for those few who remained loyal to the crown and lived as adventurers. For generations, they had all but disappeared from the world.

Marcus Gideon awoke at the crossroads outside the border town of Armändis. Lost, with no memory of his past life, he was stabbed through the heart and left for dead. His life was saved by a blacksmith’s kindness who replaced his damaged heart with a mechanical, magical miracle—a clockwork heart. The gears clicked, the motor spun, and his heart started beating again, powered by his own magical energy.

Gideon was alive, but his savior was no ordinary blacksmith. Henry Botàn was a Magus, hiding out in Armändis to protect the weapons within his magical armory. The swords, spears, and other-worldly artifacts were potent, some cursed and even forbidden to wield. His responsibility was to protect these weapons from falling into the wrong hands, but he was old and past his prime. He needed an apprentice, and Marcus Gideon may be the one he waited for. As Gideon searches for clues to his past, he looks toward his future and his fate in Attlain as The Last Magus.

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers.

First artwork for THE OUTLANDER WAR shows the final battle to save Avalon

Half-demon mercenary Abdel Ben Faust challenges the Gil-Gamesh, Lord Bryan MoonDrake, and his Shield Maiden, Amelia Pomodoro, in the Elven Temple of Eternal Starlight in the ancient city of Alfheimer. (Art by Pam Hage)

I am so proud to show you the first artwork based on my third novel, The Outlander War. This is the pivotal fight between Abdel Ben Faust, the half-demon mercenary swordsman, and Lord Bryan MoonDrake, the Gil-Gamesh and Eternal Champion of Avalon, along with his Shield Maiden, Amelia Pomodoro. Thanks to Pam Hage, better known as the Queen of Eagles, for her beautiful artwork! You can check her out on Instagram and on Deviant Art.

Here’s an excerpt from The Outlander War: Book 3 of the Forever Avalon Series to lay out the scene depicted above.

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From the highest points on the mountains flanking the two sides of Alfheimer, the Wrath Legion poured down the mountainside and into the city. Thousands of armoured wraiths ran down the sheer cliffs into the defenders below. The two sides clashed instantly, steel clanging against the phantom weapons of the wraiths.

The shield maidens held their own against the Wraith Legion, living up to their reputation as legendary warriors. The Dragon Guard matched well against the ghostly warriors. Hunter’s spell shot proved most useful against the wraiths, breaking through their armour and shattering their heartstones with a blast of fiery light.

As the battle raged around them, the Gil-Gamesh watched and waited, looking for their leader to appear. The sound of a demon hole opening behind him assured him that his wait was over. Bryan spun around as Abdel Ben Faust lunged at him, bringing his broadsword Deathsong down at the Gil-Gamesh’s head. Bryan crossed his swords and blocked his attack. Amelia stepped in and, true to fashion, used her shield to pummel Faust, hurling him away and to the ground.

Faust got up slowly as he ran his hand under his nose. He saw the dripping blood, caused by Amelia’s blow, and it angered him even more. “You’ll pay for that, you little bitch!” he cursed.

“Take another step closer, braggart, and I’ll knock you down again!” Amelia jabbed back at him. The three circled each other, there in the foyer of the temple, and jockeyed for position.

“I don’t know who or what possessed you to commandeer the Wraith Legion, Faust, but it ends today. You’re putting all our lives at risk from the demon hordes of Hell, and for what? For some foolish master with eyes on the throne of Avalon?”

“You know not of my master, Gil-Gamesh, and when you do…you will only find your death!” Faust lunged at the two again, slashing wildly. Like a precision machine, Amelia and the Gil-Gamesh worked in unison, trading blow-for-blow with Faust. Amelia blocked his attacks with her shield while Lord MoonDrake struck back at Faust.

Bryan knew that the best way to take down a formidable swordsman like Faust was to keep him off balance. The Gil-Gamesh pressed his attack, keeping Twilight high and Dusk low. Faust swung mercilessly at the two of them, cutting out chunks of marble from the floor and columns with his massive broadsword.

When one such blow briefly lodged Deathsong in it, the Gil-Gamesh saw his opening. He leapt into the air and spun, his blades extended. Bryan sliced at Faust’s chest with Twilight and connected. The unearthly dragonfire of Twilight engulfed the broadsword’s blade, hilt and beyond, burning away part of Faust’s tunic, not to mention Faust himself. The half-demon stepped back and snarled in pain. It was then that Bryan saw the source of Faust’s power.

The Gil-Gamesh looked at the heartstone attached to Faust’s chest. It looked just like the ones on the wraiths and glowed with a heavenly light. “You…insufferable bastard,” he said. “You captured the essence of the heavenly host in that stone to control the wraiths, didn’t you?”

Faust spat on the ground and smirked. “Nothing gets by you, does it?”

“But how, how can a lowlife half-demon like you get command of such magic?”

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This great piece of art will have a place of honor in my Fan Art link, along with other great artwork highlighting the Forever Avalon fantasy book series. There is an additional piece of new art on The Outlander War Fan Art page, but it’s a bit of a SPOILER so I won’t post it here. No sense in spoiling things for those who haven’t read it yet.

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers.

Fantasy Maps help expand “world building” for a writer to take the reader on a journey

High resolution map of Middle Earth - Album on Imgur
Map of Middle Earth from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Writing has nothing to do with meaning. It has to do with land surveying and cartography, including the mapping of countries yet to come.”

― Gilles Deleuze

World Building is a skill every writer needs, especially in the fantasy and sci-fi genre. Luckily, as a former D&D DungeonMaster, I have some background in this area before I became an author. Creating the world to take my friends on their many adventures was a part of my life, whether it was Dungeons and Dragons, Space Opera, Rift or any other RPG, I had to create the world in which we were roleplaying.

I used to try and create my own maps using PowerPoint or Adobe InDesign to help me imagine these brave new worlds, but they were poor substitutes and not marketable. Thank God for the independent author and artist community online. They have the resources needed to help bring my imaginary world into a reality.

World building is defined as “the process of constructing an imaginary world, sometimes associated with a whole fictional universe. Developing an imaginary setting with coherent qualities such as a history, geography, and ecology is a key task for many science fiction or fantasy writers.” You don’t know how true that is! As writers, we have to imagine everything from landscapes to cityscapes and everything in between. That means political structure, currency, races, religion, etc. It all has to be accounted for, but the biggest factor is the landscape.

In writing, you need to talk about the cities, forests, roads, and everything else when describing your story. If my protagonist is heading east along the Vanir Road, following the Blackbriar Forest on his way to the Gilded Halls of the Dwarves, I have to know where those places are in relation to his current location. In a sense, you could be writing about going one way and then mention somewhere you protagonist has been, and you say east instead of west so then your world becomes confusing.

Think of it this way… Would you have understood the journey Frodo went on in Lord of the Rings without the map of Middle Earth? Maybe, but the map helped me (as the reader) understand the journey they went on through that map. I like to think about that when I look at world maps from the 1600’s, seeing how they thought of the Earth 400 years ago and how different it is today. Even maps from the 1960’s and 70’s are different from what they are today.

The Island of Avalon
Map of Avalon from the Forever Avalon series, designed by Amy Kruzan.

Mapping is essential which is why, as a writer, I am happy to employ mapmakers in helping me create my worlds. The first one I used was Amy Kruzan, known in Instagram as fantasygraphicsbya. She took my description of Avalon and mapped the enchanted island, as told in the Forever Avalon fantasy book series, into a working map. Now, she helping me with a new layout of Avalon following the aftermath of The Outlander War (I won’t spoil it, so please read it to understand why). Imagining it was one thing but seeing it is something completely new. The layout reflects the ideas I had more than 20 years ago when I started writing the first book in the series.

I found many map artists on Twitter and Instagram. They are quite prolific in creating these myriad of worlds for dreamers like me. The ability to take the words and descriptions to design the forests, mountains, lakes, seas, rivers and cities is designed down to the ridges on the cliffs to the pine trees swaying in the wind. It makes it difficult to formulate things like trade routes, ship ports, rivers and canals, roads, etc. These are all essential for a vibrant or lackluster economy, which makes your fantasy world believable. I mean, how can you take care of an entire island without farmland, shipyards, and all the necessities to feed the populace, export commerce, and transport goods from one place to the other.

“You can’t map a sense of humor. Anyway, what is a fantasy map but a space beyond which There Be Dragons? On the Discworld we know that There Be Dragons Everywhere. They might not all have scales and forked tongues, but they Be Here all right, grinning and jostling and trying to sell you souvenirs.”

― Terry Pratchett, The Color of Magic

So, besides the regular social media crowd, there are artist websites like Art Station, Deviant Art and others allow artists to showcase their work so it makes for a great place to research styles, designs and artists. Although many maps, especially fantasy maps, look similar in many respects, but its the fine details that make the map into something special and unique for your story. You can find the artist you’re looking for to take your story into the world you’re creating.

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers.

The right book cover is what draws in the reader

When an author finishes writing a novel, beyond the editing and polishing that comes next, an important decision is staring them right in the face… The cover! The cover of a book is what draws the reader to your novel. Anyone who has shopped for books, whether online or at a bookstore, is drawn to the book by the first thing they see, the cover. Yes, we then turn the book over and read the synopsis to see if its worth reading, but we’re not going to pick up the book if the cover doesn’t attract my eye.

“Aspiring authors, get this through your head. Cover art serves one purpose, and one purpose only, to get potential customers interested long enough to pick up the book to read the back cover blurb. In the internet age that means the thumb nail image needs to be interesting enough to click on. That’s what covers are for.”

― Larry Correia

When I finished each of my novels, the first thing (besides a loud sign of relief) that came to mind was the cover. What was I going come up with to draw readers in? For my first novel, Forever Avalon, I knew exactly what I wanted. The image of a flying galleon was the big magical reveal and I knew it would draw people in. Luckily, the artist saw through the words of my book and brought my vision into life. My wife says it looks “cartoonish” and makes it look more like a children’s book rather than an adult novel. We agree to disagree because I love my cover.

For my second novel, The Dark Tides, the cover art was a stock image. I had millions of images to pick from and this one just stood out to me. The dark lightning tied it into the idea at the heart of the novel, an all encompassing spell called The Dark Tides. The ship ties it back to the first book, and so in this stock art, I found the perfect cover to express the ideas behind my novel.

“I always think that it’s wrong to put images of my protagonists on the cover of my novels because readers can identify with characters only if they are given the chance to imagine them independently.”

― Orhan Pamuk, The Innocence of Objects

For The Outlander War, I finally wanted to show the floating island of Emmyr. For those who may not be familiar with my fantasy book series, Emmyr is the Dragon Isle. It floats in the sky above Avalon due to the concentration of magic due to the dragons that live there. Emmyr is front and center of the war between the modern military forces and Avalon in the novel, so I wanted to show that. I also thought a silhouetted view of the island and the battle going on around it would be easier to display. This conflict is the heart of the story and you see it all in this cover.

As I write, the story goes through my mind like a Broadway play in stage, and I translate that performance into the words of my novel. At the end of the process, I take all of that imagery and try to find one thing that will catch the eye of a reader. Just one thing to tell the story and make someone say, “I want to read that book!” Remember these words…

“Good cover design is not only about beauty… it’s a visual sales pitch. It’s your first contact with a potential reader. Your cover only has around 3 seconds to catch a browsing reader’s attention. You want to stand out and make them pause and consider, and read the synopsis.”

― Eeva Lancaster, Being Indie: A No Holds Barred, Self Publishing Guide for Indie Authors

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Forever Avalon!

Sending out the warmest of holiday wishes to all my friends and fans alike from the world of the FOREVER AVALON fantasy book series! I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed Happy New Year 2021!

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers.